Candis C. Coffee grew up in West Texas, where her family has lived since 1848, when they immigrated from Ireland. The house in Mariposa is based on the 150-year-old home of her grandparents on the banks of the Concho River in San Angelo.
Candis spent nearly fifteen years in Santa Monica, California, where she was employed as a writer for various organizations. She later moved to New Orleans, where she helped Chef Paul Prudhomme write the cookbook of his dreams and titled it Fork in the Road. Candis longed for the desert, however, which inspired a move to Santa Fe and graduate school at the University of New Mexico. She has since returned to her birthplace in West Texas, however, where she currently resides.
Candis received a BA in Literature from the University of Texas, Austin, and has pursued graduate studies in Creative Writing, Literature, and Spanish. She is presently at work on a children’s book and is pursuing a doctoral degree in alternative healthcare and the healing arts.
Mariposa is literary fiction that can be read on different levels, for entertainment or spiritual growth. It can also be classified as Women’s Fiction, Border Fiction, and New Age literature. It differs from many works in that the book speaks to a reader who has a background in the area of human growth potential and metaphysics. Spiritual principles are subtly interspersed throughout the story. I admire the work of Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist. Mr. Coelho creates stories based on metaphysical principles and spiritual evolution, and this was my vision in writing Mariposa.
The setting of Mariposa is 1920s and 1930s West Texas, Los Angeles, and Mexico. Annarose, a spiritual, intellectual, brave young woman desires to feel the magic she believes exists in connections to nature, to people. Deep down, she feels that fulfillment of spiritual longing, the ultimate mystical experience, is found within a connection to the “Other.” The other for Annarose, a girl from rural Texas, is a Mexican man. Along the way, the story illuminates the perils of prejudice as well as the intimate, yet treacherous bond that exists between Anglo and Mexican people who live side by side near the border.
As a child in West Texas, Annarose sees life and intelligence in everything. She finds herself in a relationship with an invisible “Presence,” which beckons to her spirit and with whom she feels most alive. A friendship with a Mexican boy and her love of the landscape also nurture this young girl who feels rejected by her Mother.
Banished to Los Angeles at 13, she loses her connection to spirit and begins to seek it again through intellectual pursuits. There, she finds herself in a kind of waiting room between worlds, that of Texas and Mexico.
Her philosophical studies and supportive friendship with Estelle, a gifted musician, lead to an awakening for Annarose, and she becomes a writer, and she travels to Mexico. She wants to feel life again. Artist, Frida Kahlo, befriends Annarose and offers her a glimpse, by holding up a symbolic mirror, of true power. She meets Mexican muralist, Crisanto, and chooses him as her lover. He is her connection to all that is beautiful, wild, free, and happy because he is the “Other,” and Annarose feels that she can also find aspects of the maternal within him. She embraces all that this man, his people, and his country represent.
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